DOHA: Anyone found dealing in expired food will face imprisonment for six months to one year or fines worth QR7,000 to QR15,000 or both, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has warned.
Recent amendments in the country’s food monitoring law also stipulate that those selling food that can harm human health face jail for one year to two years and fines worth QR15,000 to QR30,000 or both, Al Sharq reported, quoting a Ministry statement.
Anyone dealing in expired food or that which is not fit for human consumption will face two years to four years in jail and fines worth QR15,000 to QR30,000 or both, if the sold food had a harmful effect on someone’s health or if it led to chronic diseases.
The offender will face four years to eight years in jail and fines of QR30,000 to QR60,000 or both if the expired or spoilt food resulted in someone’s death, the daily said.
The Law (No. 4 of 2014) amending some provisions of Law No. 8 of 1990 on monitoring of food for human consumption has specified violations of the law as well as punishments.
It can be confirmed through laboratory tests whether the food is fit for human consumption, it can harm human health, it is spoilt or genuine.
Punishments will be imposed if it is confirmed that the contents, taste, colour, smell or expiry date of the food have been changed or if the food contained worms, insects, or germs or if it is prepared or stored in an improper manner.
The food is considered harmful to health if it contained radiating material, insects, insecticides, or poisoning material and if it is handled by a person(s)who suffer from communicable diseases or produced from dead animals or animals which had been suffering from communicable diseases.
The rules will also apply if the food is mixed with soil, or contained banned colours or preservatives that harms human health
According to the amendment, the Qatar Authority for Standards and Specifications at the Ministry of Environment has also been given the power to decide on closure of erring outlets. Earlier, this power was limited to departments at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning and the Supreme Council of Health.
A sticker will be placed at the outlet saying that it (or the specific area of the outlet) has been closed for violating the food monitoring law, and the decision will be published on the website of the department that has taken the decision.
The amendments allow the authorities to close down an erring out for “not more than 60 days” straightway. Earlier, outlets were closed initially for one month, and the closure was extended to two months and then three months if the violation was repeated.